Frustrated by Gutenberg Yet?

July 26, 2019
Posted in General
July 26, 2019 Niall Flynn

Should I plan to use Gutenberg in 2020?

2019 Q1 & Q2 have passed and nothing seems to have changed, so what is the plan for 2020 and the ‘new’ Editor launched in December 2018?

Numbers as of Aug 2019

  1. Current Rating 2 Starshttps://wordpress.org/plugins/gutenberg/#reviews
  2. Current installs of Classic Editor 5 stars, 5+ Million installshttps://wordpress.org/plugins/classic-editor/#reviews
  3. Current Installs of disable Gutenberg 5 stars, 300k installshttps://wordpress.org/plugins/disable-gutenberg/

Please note that the disable Gutenberg plugin is far superior to the Classic Editor and is not designed to trick folks into using the new builder, it disables Gutenberg 100%

Short Answer – No!

No is my personal view to using Gutenberg/Is Gutenberg ready. Below are ways you can join me and why.

I have broken this down to the users and use cases I see daily with Irish, Canadian and US/UK clients:

Business Website Owners on Existing WordPress Websites?

100% No, the plugin as of the writing this post is not only buggy but lacks functionality you need to even contemplate building a site

  • Stability cannot be guaranteed
  • Your going to be adding 1-2 plugins possibly more if you want Gutenberg to do anything decent
  • Everything is beta
  • Documentation is sparse
  • You will end up saving nothing (zero) as all good themes will bundle a very reliable page builder

SEO & Content Editors

100% No, this new editor is slow but also:

  • Slow for basic edits like permalink, title etc
  • Very hard to multitask in, 20 tabs at once wont work well in my experience
  • It limits the CMS a lot
  • Code changes are not easy, inline CSS is now promoted and wide spread
  • The code generated is clean but highly repetitive
  • The new Comments replacing short codes is messy and very hard to find replace compared to a [Shorcode] based solution, I think this is also just another way to do the same thing

Developers, Wranglers, etc – Folk who build with WP

I think developer here is a strong word, if you use WP to make sites, your like me more of a Wrangler, but most folks selling sites online will have a tool set or stack.

I know quite a few active working WP devs, I’m 100% freelance employed doing this and there is no way I would trust my clients to use a free anything, especially a builder. I was really hoping that WordPress VIP were the driving force here that this would be a polished and business focused tool. It’s not and it is so far from this it is quite worrying for the platform.

WordPress Should Have a Free Layout/Page Builder!

It should but it never got into this space early or even close to on time. The plugin currently is ironically restrictive for high art style sites. The overall attention to detail with padding etc. If you want a Divi style experience/layout editor Gutenberg will fail to impress. It feels like a beta, its clunky on cheap hosting its slow, its over using JavaScript assuming we all have a €3k Mac. But the big issue is as always with WP, stability. Free plugins are not going to help anyone’s life online. Gutenberg has in 2019 gathered a bunch of add-on plugins. Overall for anyone who has used a content builder/layout plugin you will find it:

  • UX is terrible, 3-4 clicks for things that should be within the top Chrome
  • A terrible use of space in the back end, the UI is an afterthought
  • Bizarre authoring use cases, adding colour to text etc
  • Everything is a block, this for me was the biggest issue as a seasoned WP user

When will Gutenberg be ready?

Based on the speed/flux I am seeing I would say it will be 3-4 years, if ever before this becomes a real tool for developers and site owners.

WordPress stability pre 2018 was acceptable, as of 2019 I can see a lot of issues that are now net new to WP with Gutenberg and once this becomes the only editor, or when Auttomattic decide Gutenberg is the only editor.

Do Site Owners Want The New ‘Features’?

A resounding no is the answer, the new features and lauded advancements, dont seem to out weigh the issues with the UI and the overall block concept.

Will The Paid Builders Disappear?

No and I can really do this WP should have acquired one or all of these companies and used their UI/UX knowledge then make this native. Trying to as they have build this live using WP users as guinea pigs, does not seem to have been super effective.

Summary – Gutenberg is Aimed at Part Time Bloggers not Users of the CMS

This is the only rational way to judge this. WP is under threat or thought it was from Wix, Medium, SquareSpace etc. The irony being that the only places those platforms could beat WP was in reliability. Thier entire business models rely on simple to use for all, devs and site owners alike.

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